Fifth Sunday in Lent - Year B
The New Covenant
A Covenant is a personal agreement or contract between two or more people. Unlike a commercial contract, a Covenant is a commitment to share lives. The best human examples are the marriage vows in which a man and a woman agree to share a common life with faithfulness, love and honor.
During the past Sundays of Lent we have been looking at the Covenants that God made with his people in the past. These included Covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses and the people of Judah during the exile. God agreed to protect these people and their descendants provided that they agree to follow a path to holiness. To be "holy" is to be "like God". Sadly, though God kept his part of the bargain, the people rarely did.
Jeremiah predicted that God would create a new permanent Covenant. Jeremiah was a prophet who lived in the 6th century B.C. He taught that under this new agreement, people would instinctively know God and his guidance. God would "engrave" it on our hearts.
Jesus brought the New Covenant into being by his obedient death and resurrection.
WHY DO I HAVE TO CONFESS MY SINS TO A PRIEST?
Some people say that they don’t need to confess to a man. They say they can tell God they are sorry and he will forgive them, anywhere, any time. Actually, that’s true if you are only looking to be forgiven. But there is more to Confession (or Reconciliation) than being forgiven. If we are really sorry, we need to change, to stop sinning.
Anything is a sin if it hurts others. Most people don’t think about others, so they keep on sinning. Confession forces us to take a look at our lives and see who our acts are effecting. The priest is a counselor who can explain why we are wrong and how to change. He’s not there to judge or punish us. He’s there to diagnose the problem and suggest a cure. He can explain things and even tell you if you’re not doing anything wrong.
The penance is a small step towards changing our lives. We don’t have to change our lives right away, but we do need to change. The Sacrament gives us the strength to make the changes.
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